Quote of the week: “Laugh more. It burns calories.”

When I laugh at a joke or laugh at something on the television, I can feel my stomach muscles engage and my smile muscles tighten.

After laughing hysterically for some odd reason, it feels as if I did 25 crunches and my face feels sore. Not only can laughter cause those calories to burn, but one can develop six-pack abs.

Little did I know, laughter can cause more than abdominal strength. According to a Mayo Clinic article, laughter can increase one’s intake of oxygen, stimulate heart, lungs, and increase endorphins released in the brain.

That reminds me of a movie quote from “Legally Blonde” played by Reese Witherspoon.

“Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.”

Laughter also causes stress relief, according to Mayo. I guess that’s why some will say jokes at times during serious situations.

A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling,” the article states.

What has been previously mentioned were short-term effects to laughter. Now, I’ll dive in to long-term effects.

The article talks about how laughter can improve one’s immune system.

“Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses,” the article reports.

Did you know laughing can also relieve pain? It can because laughter causes the body to produce its own natural painkillers.

The best part of laughter is that it can improve one’s mood, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier,” according to the article.

I probably laugh two to three times a day. And that number triples when I’m around friends and family. A few weekends ago I made a couple of my friends laugh so hard to the point where tears were streaming down their face.

One instance was because I had to steer a motor cart, the ones used at stores, out to my friend who can’t walk long distances. Figuring out how it worked and almost running into a few poles was pretty entertaining to my friends.

So this is my PSA about laughing more. The more you know, (cue the shooting star).